On 14th February 2010 we all friends were in Lucknow for an entrance exam organized by MANAGE, an institute in Hyderabad. Please do not ask the result and more than that paper I will recall that day because it was valentine day. Sad that I did not have girl friend so with my friends we have visited in PVR to watch movie “My name is Khan”. Here I am referring that movie because in that Shahrukh quoted great scientist Albert Einstein for his famous quotation about honey bee “our earth will not survive more than 30 years once honey bees will be eliminated from the earth.” His words were in my mind when last week I visited to one organization called UTMT.
“Under the mango tree” or in short UTMT is very unique organization as it works for promotion of honey bee especially indigenous species cerena indica against hybrid honeybee mengifera indica with small and marginal farmers. UTMT started its work to have a vision for promoting honey bee for enhancing agriculture productivity. Obviously getting honey and wax are other benefits but UTMT always focused and trained farmers with the understanding that honey bee are not only for honey production but more than that they are important for increasing agriculture production and improving quality naturally. Even today we do not have any methodology to do billion dollar worth work of cross pollination what these small insects do for us without taking any fee.
UTMT has head office in Mumbai and in Gujarat they are working from Dharampur. We have visited their and met with Dhara and Aparazita two young professionals who are looking all UTMT activities. UTMT mainly play a role of consultant or support role to guide the implementing organization and NGO. In Dangs and Valsad they are guiding to BAIF staff to take this activity further.
They have got a considerable success in Valsad as now they have more than 500 boxes in that region and around more than 150 farmers are doing honey bee activity. Dhara, team leader UTMT have shared a presentation regarding UTMT over all work area, mission, work approach, details of activities, training, and IEC material developed by them to train the farmers. They have shared outcome of an action research done by DSAC which indicates that after honey bee intervention crop production has been increases from 30-200%. It is a huge change in production especially in fruit crops like cashew, guava, and mango. After 2-3 hours discussion in office we have decided to visit in a nearby village to see the impact of honey bee and to know more details about it.
We have visited to the village called Dandwal where we have met with master trainer of UTMT name Soma bhai. He is with UTMT since 2009 when first time his village was chosen by UTMT team. UTMT team identified him as master trainer to take this activity in village. In first phase only 7 new farmers initiated it. All farmers got two days training in Shamgahan and they started with 3 boxes per house hold. UTMT team helped them to catch the natural colony from forest and start their rearing in boxes. After seeing their first phase success in next phase 13 more farmers joined the movement. At present total 31 farmers are doing honey bee rearing activity in the village. They have basic necessary items like honey bee extractor, swarm bag, and wax sheet. We have seen few boxes also and see practically bees inside the box. Soma bhai shared that each farmers has minimum 3-5 boxes and from one box average 5 kg honey one can extract and one Kg honey rate is around 300 rs in local market. This way from 5 boxes one farmer earns annually around rs 4500. This is the direct benefit, crop production increases that is different.
Apart from all this learning experience I met two young professional Dhara and Aparazita and discussed various aspects of their work and challenges what they are facing at field level. After long field visit we had a good lunch, Manchurian with fried rice. We are enough motivated to see their work in Valsad region and we are planning to take this activity in our working area in coming days because is it also a powerful method to enhance the crop production. Unfortunately not many organizations are taking this activity at macro level but we are planning to introduce it with our farmers and get some wonderful outcomes.